For many, any romantic or sexual interest outside of their relationships is looked at as immoral and is branded as taboo. For a lot of us, including myself, love is strongly attached to the number two – candle-lit tables are always for two, marriage licenses just have two lines for signatories in it, and even the cringe “He and She” T-shirts come in packs of two. But does everyone only have one “true” love? Is it not possible to love two or more at the same time with the same intensity and same passion? This question and its answers have many a time resulted in infidelity, extramarital affairs, ruining of brilliant marriages and relationships, and have deeply affected millions of beautiful families. But today, many are finding love outside of this constrained one-size-fits-all societal definition of “love”. A study by the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy in 2016 shows that 21% of the participants have had a non-monogamous relationship. While the data size may be too small for this study, it very clearly indicates that monogamous relationships, where you have only one romantic partner, don’t have to be the norm anymore.
Polyamorous relationships are slowly and steadily challenging this societal expectation of loving only one person at a time. According to the Polyamory society, “Polyamory emphasizes consciously choosing how many partners one wishes to be involved with rather than accepting social norms which dictate loving only one person at a time.” In a polyamorous relationship, one tends to have romantic and intimate (not necessarily sexual) relationships with multiple partners at one time. Polyamory can include combinations of people who are of different genders, sex and sexual orientations. What separates it from an “open” relationship is that in a polyamorous relationship, partners have a deep sense of emotional, sexual and/or romantic intimacy between them. Polyamory should not be confused with adultery and infidelity since it is entirely consensual and disclosed to every person involved.
While the idea of a polyamorous relationship can be quite alien and even confusing to many, for some, it can be something they are drawn towards. But how do you know if it might work for you, and if it is the solution to finding your “true” love (if something like that does truly exist)? Well, you won’t really know unless you are in one, but here are a few signs that might help you:
- Monogamy is too constraining for you
One obvious sign that a polyamorous relationship can be the one for you is that you find monogamous relationships too constraining. You feel like you can no longer act as an individual, and almost everything you do is a byproduct of your relationship. You think this no longer comes from a place of love and care but from unhealthy attachment, jealousy and even fear.
- You learn a lot about yourself from others
Relationships are not just fun and happy times, but are also shared experiences where you grow as a person. If you feel that being in a monogamous relationship might constrain you from learning about yourself and is stopping you from growing as a person, then maybe it isn’t for you.
- You have always felt as if you can love more than one person
If you have always felt that loving one person or being in a relationship with one person stops you from loving anyone else, then it may be a sign that polyamory is for you. You can be completely present for someone when you are with them, and your relationships with others do not change the way you look and relate with them.
- You are scared of commitments
While this may seem like an undesirable trait, it is important to understand that not everyone can commit to one person for the rest of their lives. It also doesn’t mean that you do not want to build a life with someone, but it might mean that you don’t want your relationship to cut you out from other life fulfilling experiences that might help you grow as a person.
- You feel like one person cannot fulfill all your needs
You might feel like one person cannot meet all your needs and desires. You might crave to be with someone who is exactly like you, has the same tastes, feelings and hobbies as you, while at the same time, you might desire someone who is entirely different from you and brings out a different side of you. This might be a sign that polyamory is for you.
Today we live in a world where the idea of love is synonymous with the “happily-ever-after” notion – where you marry one person and spend the rest of your life with that one true love of yours. But this doesn’t work for everyone. So while you should always strive for a “happily-ever-after”, it does not necessarily have to be with only one person.